Answering questions seemed easy as a kid. At Sunday school it seemed like nine out of ten times the answer was 'Jesus'. It was easy to put your hand up and have something to say.
But as an adult the questions that confront us about our faith seem far more daunting. “What makes you think the Bible is worth believing?” “What about all this suffering in the world? What has God done about that?” “How can you be sure there is a God?”
These questions can make us search for answers all over the place. Sometimes our Sunday school days can seem far away and 'Jesus' seems like an unlikely answer to come out our mouths.
Have you considered how Jesus isn't just a Sunday school answer? Jesus is the answer for grown-ups too.
Jesus and believing the Bible
What makes you think the Bible is worth believing? To answer this people could say all kinds of things; but what about looking to Jesus for reasons to believe the Bible.
One approach could be considering the evidence for Jesus' resurrection. Evidence for Jesus' resurrection is plentiful: the radically changed behaviour of the disciples; the dramatic rise of Christianity, despite how counter cultural it was to worship a crucified person; a reasonable explanation for where Jesus' body went (no one had anything to gain by taking his body — the Romans and Jewish leaders would reveal if they had taken it. The disciples didn't have anything to gain from a lie).
The resurrection gives me confidence in the truth of the Bible. If the Bible is true about Jesus coming back to life from the dead (which is a radical claim) then it is reasonable to think that it is true about other claims.
If you haven't investigated the resurrection of Jesus for yourself it is well worth your while to check it out.
Jesus and suffering
Jesus is integral to Christianity's view of suffering. Suffering came about as a result of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, and to remedy sin and suffering Jesus — God himself — suffered and died.
However, Jesus' resurrection gives us hope: whoever trusts in him will be raised to life when Jesus returns and be free of suffering. Jesus doesn't ignore the problem of suffering. The cause of suffering is recognised, acknowledged, and ultimately resolved through Jesus (while giving meaning to our ongoing suffering).
Jesus and life's biggest problem
Christians believe that Jesus is God. On top of the evidence for Jesus coming back to life from the dead (which is itself great evidence for God) Jesus gets it right when he analyses what is wrong with the world.
While people today say our problem is poverty, pollution, social media, over sexualisation, misunderstanding, or broken homes ... Jesus said our problem runs deeper: the problem is the human heart.
“...from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you...” (Matthew chapter 15, verses 19–20)
Not only do our evil hearts result in evil done to each other. Our hearts cause us to live as enemies of God as we put ourselves first and refuse to give God the honour he deserves. If we remain as God's enemies he will bring us to justice — holding everyone accountable for every thought and action that springs from our evil hearts.
Even if we do lots of good things, our hearts are still the problem. No matter how good we try to be we can't erase the evil within or the evil of our past. We are broken. Jesus doesn't get caught up in the externals. Jesus gets it.
The Apostle Peter was clear that Jesus was his only hope. When others were turning away from Jesus, Peter said 'where else have we to go, you alone have the words of eternal life'. Even though he may not have fully grasped how Jesus would bring about eternal life, Peter was spot on. When it comes to eternal life: Jesus is our only hope!
The more I consider questions about Christianity the more I am convinced to look to Jesus for answers. Has Jesus answered your questions?
First published January 22, 2016
Andrew Sinclair is a Kiwi living in Sydney, Australia with his wife Sophia and their son Guy. He is studying theology at Sydney Missionary and Bible College.
Andrew Sinclair's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/andrew-sinclair.html